February means report cards are sent home. Ideally, you’ve already had a few kind words with your child’s teacher prior to that dreaded call home or the disappointing report card. If so, then you have had the pleasure of meeting without the stress and emotion of a ‘problem to solve.’ Whether you have established a relationship with the teacher or not, here are five things to keep in mind to make the most of any meeting with your child’s teacher.
5 Tips for Tough Talks with Your Child’s Teacher
There are no sides.
Most teachers teach because they love the profession and they love kids. They are not out to attack parents. The teacher is most likely on your side and wants to find a solution to the problem, just like you. Ask for the teacher’s expertise and suggestions for strategies that have worked with other students in the past.
Write down your questions and concerns prior to the meeting. Just by walking into a classroom, one can suddenly feel like a 5-year-old who has been called to the principal’s office. Emotions may run high so having a list of questions can keep everyone on track.
Begin with a feeling.
Lead the conversation with a feeling rather than an accusation. If you are not sure how to start the conversation begin with one of the following:
- We are feeling really confused…
- We’re hoping you can help us to understand…
- This is uncomfortable but we really don’t like what is being said about our child…
Write it down.
Write down the agreed-upon solution along with dates/tasks. Be sure that you know who is doing what and when you will be in touch. Decide who will email/call whom and stick to the assignment. This way, you’ll be supporting your child by holding everyone (including the child) accountable.
Follow the correct protocol.
Feeling frustrated by your child’s teacher? Meet with the teacher first before going to administration. Give the teacher an opportunity to hear about and solve the problem. If it still isn’t working, then approach the next level in the hierarchy.
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